Lindsay Harroff

Lindsay Harroff


PhD, Communication Studies, University of Kansas
Graduate Certificate, African Studies, University of Kansas
BA, Communication Studies and Political Science, Furman University


Areas of Expertise: Comparative and Transnational Rhetoric, African Studies, Decoloniality, Truth Commissions, Genocide, National Belonging

Drawing on perspectives from rhetorical studies, decolonial theory, and African studies, my research explores how rhetoric shapes and transforms conflict and social and political relations. I engage matters of violence, identity, national community, justice, and democratic norms, especially as they play out in the work of truth commissions. By privileging the local traditions and epistemologies and taking seriously the geo-political and cultural situatedness of the African contexts I study, I aim to refigure understandings of these matters as I decenter Western, Euro-American perspectives and colonial frameworks.

My current project focuses on how truth commissions conceptualize and pursue national unity in ways that reimagine national community and belonging. Through critical comparative analyses of truth commissions in South Africa, Kenya, and the United States, I demonstrate how truth commissions can decenter citizenship as the primary mode of public engagement and identity of belonging. Simultaneously, I consider how truth commissions operate within and remain constrained by the framework of transitional justice and colonial matrices of power, knowledge, and being.

My research also considers how the rhetoric of genocide mobilizes particular sensibilities about the relation between ethnicity and politics that can constrain interpretations of violence and our understanding of public life more broadly. My essay in Rhetoric & Public Affairs, “Ethnicity, Politics, and the Rhetoric of Genocide at Eldoret,” illustrates how disparate assumptions about the relations bewteen ethnic and political identities shaped interpretations of the 2007/2008 post-election violence in Kenya. Ultimately, this line of research challenges the universal pretension of the category of genocide and the tendency within liberal democratic thought to delimit politics from other group identities, such as race and ethnicity.

Recent Publications

“From Sitting In to Sitting Out: Demonstrating the Inviolability of Rights in the 1963 Cambridge Movement.” In Like Wildfire: The Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Sit-Ins , edited by Sean O’Rourke and Lesli Pace. Columbia, SC: The University of South Carolina Press, 2020.

“Ethnicity, Politics, and the Rhetoric of Genocide at Eldoret.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 22, no. 3 (2019): 421-452.

“Lessons from Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, Kenya, and the United States for Transitional and Restorative Justice.” Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy 28, no. 3 (2019): 527-560.



SPC 2608 Public Speaking

SPC 3272 Rhetorical Foundations of Publics and Counterpublics

COM 6944 Theory and Practice of Teaching Communication


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